Spring is approaching, and it’s time to start planning a lawn and landscaping strategy. Before you start cutting and fertilizing, it’s a good idea to review some common myths and myth-busting tips from several lawn and landscaping professionals familiar with the conditions in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
Myth #1: You can water your lawn and landscape any time of day.
Reality: Water is a valuable resource; make every drop count! Watering the lawn in the early mornings or evenings after sunset minimizes evaporation. It’s the best time for water to penetrate deep into the soil.
Myth #2: It’s ok to cut the grass very short.
Reality: Most landscape professionals advise against cutting more than one-third of the grass leaf at a time. Mowing at a finished cut height of 3 to 3.5 inches throughout the summer is generally recommended. The lawn will need less water, will be more resistant to weeds and will have a deeper, greener color. Use a sharp mower blade to prevent tearing grass blades. A crisp and clean cut will help prevent a “brown tip” appearance.
Myth #3: It’s best to water your lawn every day.
Reality: Watering your lawn every three days is better than daily watering. Deep, rather than shallow watering of your lawn is recommended to nurture the roots. An inch of water to 12 inches of soil is the preferred ratio for watering actively growing grass.
Myth #4: If you want to replace your lawn, you should do it in the spring when plants get ready to bloom.
Reality: The best time to sow seed is in the late summer and early fall when the temperatures are more consistent and when highly competitive weeds, like crabgrass, are at the end of their life cycle.
Myth #5: Early spring is the best time to fertilize the lawn.
Reality: Since different species of grass prefer nutrients at different times of the year, be sure to use the correct fertilizer, at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place. A slow-release fertilizer allows for more even and consistent feeding over a longer period of time than a quick-release fertilizer. And, remember to use fertilizers responsibly by cleaning up any that lands on the street, sidewalks or driveways.
Myth #6: A garden hose is more cost efficient than installing an irrigation system.
Reality: Many landscape professionals recommend installing an irrigation system with smart controllers which have sensors that water when needed. Smart irrigation can offer a cost savings of 15–20 percent on water bills. Converting irrigation spray nozzles from sprinklers to rotating nozzles will spread heavy droplets of water at a slower pace, which makes them more targeted and effective.
Myth #7: You have to irrigate to have a healthy and beautiful lawn.
Reality: Grasses can endure long periods of drought by entering a state of dormancy. When temperatures and moisture levels are at their extreme, the growing point of grass plants will shut off the grass blades and turn brown. In almost all instances, once the heat and drought stresses have gone, the crowns will begin to send up new shoots. There’s nothing wrong with irrigating to avoid dormancy, but living with the brown for a couple of weeks in the summer is just fine too.
Agree or disagree? As a landlord, have you considered maintaining the lawn/landscape yourself? The additional time spent, especially if you enjoy it, may payoff in the future through higher resale values. Leave a comment with helpful lawn care tips, and don’t forget to share this post on Facebook tagging Real Property Management.